SAN DIEGO — U.S. Customs and Border Protection expect an increase in border traffic for the upcoming holiday season, and they are encouraging folks to anticipate some delays.
The hustle and bustle of the Thanksgiving holiday is already underway for travelers like Jeannette Gonzalez looking to get in and out of the U.S.
“You’ll probably be, if you’re traveling by car, probably like three to four hours. It’s Tuesday today and its super packed all the way at the end. Even entering the freeway area from Mexico, it’s a line just to get onto the freeway,” Gonzalez explained.
To avoid a sea of red break lights, U.S. Customs and Border Protections recommends beating the sunrise and traveling during the early morning hours from around 4 a.m-9 a.m. Monday through Friday and 2 p.m-12 a.m. Saturday-Sunday.
“The line takes forever, and it takes like three hours, and it seems like the line is not moving and it’s like a snake,” said Melizza Diaz, a Tijuana resident who commutes to San Ysidro from Tijuana daily for work.
The long lines are followed by new plans for a checkpoint on the Mexican side where commuters are now required to show travel documents long before they get to the U.S. Port of Entry. Although designed to speed up the entry process, commuters are facing the opposite effect.
“If you don’t have your passport, you can’t go through the “Ready” line, you’ll have to go through “All Traffic” lane. They’ll honestly get on your case about it and say, ‘next time you need to have a passport,” Gonzalez said.
If you plan on bringing food to the United States, you can check the CBP list of prohibited items. All live animals, birds and bird products may be restricted, quarantined or require certification.
Travelers can also check out the “Know Before You Go” section of the CBP website to avoid any fines and penalties associated with bringing any prohibited items.
For any more information on travel during the holidays, the San Diego Field Office has laid out instructions on how to cross seamlessly during the season.
To help simplify any added delays, agents recommend staying in your lane when crossing. Traffic at all local ports of entry is separated into three dividing lanes, depending on whether or not commuters have a permit, a passport or a regular ID.